Creative terms of endearment in French that are local to Québec

Ma chouette, ma pitchounette, ma puce, mon chou, mon chéri, ma cocotte, ma pitoune, mon minou, ma minoune, mon chouchou ... These are all common terms of endearment in Québec, a province of Canada where French is spoken by the majority.

People from Québec will typically discuss how our swear words are unique (related to the Catholic religion), but don't think we spend our days swearing! Not only do we have creative swear words, but we also like using creative terms of endearment.

I myself call my friends, ma puce (my flea), ma cocotte (my hen), or mon chou (my cabbage, or my pastry, in reference to chou à la crème).

I had a Grade 5 teacher who - unable to remember everyone's name - called all her students mon beau (my handsome) and ma belle (my beautiful).

There is also a plethora of words that end in the sound -oune: pitoune, minoune, toutoune...

Categorizing the French Canadian Terms of Endearment

Words that refer to your size (things that are small are also considered cute):

  • ma puce (my flea)
  • mon bébé (my baby)
  • ma pitchounette or mon pitchounet (hard to translate, but can probably be translated as 'my little pitcher')

Words referring to animals:

  • mon loup (my wolf)
  • mon minou (my little cat)
  • mon pitou (my puppy)
  • mon coco or ma cocotte (my hen)
  • ma chouette (my owl)

Words that end in -oune (usually refer to women or girls):

  • minoune
  • pitoune
  • toutoune
  • chouchoune

Other classic expressions:

  • mon amour (my love)
  • mon chéri/ma chérie (darling)
  • mon ange (my angel)

Do you have similar expressions of affection in your language? I'd love to hear from you on this topic!

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